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How to Prevent Hip Fractures in Seniors

A break in any portion of the upper femur (thigh bone) is known as a hip fracture or broken hip. While a hip fracture is a serious injury for a person of any age, a broken hip can be devastating for an older adult.  At Senior Helpers in Crown Point, we want to empower you to take steps to help your senior loved ones to prevent hip fractures. Here’s what caregivers need to know.

Why Seniors Are at Greater Risk

Although a person of any age can suffer a hip fracture from a severe impact, older adults have a higher risk of hip fractures because bone density decreases with age. Falls cause over 95% of hip fractures according to the Center for Disease Control. Frequently, a hip fracture is the result of a sideways fall from a standing position. Unfortunately, falls are common among seniors. The National Institute on Aging reports one in three senior adults falls each year.

Preventing Falls at Home

Taking the time to inspect the home for fall hazards is worthwhile if you want to prevent hip fractures for seniors. Floors and stairs should be kept clear of objects. Electrical cords need to be placed securely and away from walkways. Throw rugs need to be secured or removed. Your loved one's home needs adequate lighting. Nightlights in the hall between the bedroom and bathroom can be helpful. Grab bars in the shower and near the toilet can prevent bathroom falls. 

Strength and Balance Exercises Can Yield Big Benefits

It's important to encourage your older loved one to exercise. Weight-bearing activities like walking, climbing stairs, and dancing can strengthen bones. Other types of physical activity such as stretching can improve balance to reduce the risk of falls. Seniors should always consult with their physicians before starting an exercise program.

Seniors Can Eat for Bone Health

An adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D promotes bone health. Patients can speak to their primary healthcare provider to determine the right levels of these nutrients based on their age and other factors. The healthcare provider may also recommend taking a vitamin D supplement (the human body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium). Studies have found it's better to get calcium from calcium-rich foods rather than supplements. Good sources of calcium for your senior's diet include:

  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese

  • Kale

  • Broccoli

  • Canned shrimp

  • Navy beans

  • Collard greens

  • Dried Figs

Medication Management Plays a Role

If a senior has been prescribed medication to prevent bone loss, encourage them to take it as directed. Certain medication combinations can cause dizziness, which increases the risk of a fall. Therefore, your loved one's primary care physician needs to be aware of all medications they take, including over-the-counter drugs. 

Managing fall prevention, exercise, diet, and medication may be difficult for seniors. Distance or other commitments may prevent you from handling those things for your loved one. Our professional home caregivers could assist your older relative with tasks like meal preparation, medication assistance, and keeping the floor uncluttered. 

At Senior Helpers in Crown Point, we proudly provide consistent senior care in Crown Point, Merrillville, Hammond, Gary, Munster, and Lake County. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.